Thursday, August 02, 2007


I packed several novellas, or short novels, for my vacation reads so that I would have maximum choice with minimum weight in my luggage. The upside is that so far all of the book are wonderful. The downside is that it's the second day of vacation and I am starting my third book.
Since sometimes even I manage to lose track of time on vacation, I thought I should blog as I go...

D.A. by Connie Willis
This is the third book I have read by Connie Willis. (After To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book). I adore her writing and rather than rush through it all and run out, I am parcelling out a new book to myself every few years so that I can continue to discover new things from her wonderful writing. I slipped this one into my plan (Passages was supposed to be next) because I saw it in the New Books Shelves and I simply couldn't resist.

In a not-too-distant future where UCLA is still a college of choice for west coast students and the competitive college application process is in full swing, Theodora Baumgarten is a typical high school student, except for one thing. While many of the other public school students around her are striving to build their academic portfolios so they can be considered as applicants to the elite space Academy at the International Space Station, Theodora has no interest in going into space. She's content to bide her time in highschool with her favorite computer hacker friend KimKim, and ridicule the obsessed students who talk about admission to the Academy as if it were their ultimate life goal. At a mandatory school assembly, Theodora is startled, confused and soon frantic when her own name is announced as the newest Cadet and she is whisked home to pack. Despite her protests, Theodora's situation becomes worse and KimKim cannot rescue her friend. Anyone else would be thrilled to be chosen for the Academy program, but Theodora didn't even fill out an application, so how has she ended up on a whirling space station? More importantly, how can she get home again without ruining her chances for UCLA?

Connie Willis writes science fiction screwball comedy. For much of the novella D.A., I had no idea to what the title could possible be referring. And by the time I figured it out (okay, I admit, the character figured it out before me...) the plot was twisting deliciously and I was completely hooked. A few pages later it was over. As in -- "the end." This is the basis of my love-hate relationship with short stories and short novels. I get caught up in a story and befriend the characters only to have way too much left to my imagination when I run out of pages to read. I could happily read about Theodora's adventures all week, but instead I have just a glance at this world, a glimpse of another life. However satisfying a story that leaves me thinking might be, I am still left wanting more...

I checked it out. 75 pages.


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